Friday, September 28, 2012

Alice Cooper - Constrictor

This review is inspired by my returning to school after over a decade of not being able to continue my education. Most of the themes and views on this record are going to reflect my views between the ages of ten and twelve, as well as now. There's also a lot of me in this review, and I cover every song lyrically, to one extent or another.

Constrictor was the first Alice Cooper album that was mine, and not my parents. Neither of my parents have ever heard this album from what I know. I can't say the same about the album that followed this, but I owned it before hand. This album (Constrictor) was released in 1986, but I know I didn't get it until 1989. I believe my mom chose it as a freebie for me when she first signed up for Columbia House. I can't remember what cassette she got for my sister, but I have a nagging feeling it was a Tiffany album.

This was Alice Cooper's first real Metal album, and most of that is thanks to guitarist Kane Roberts. I was only ten at the time and had no clue what this Metal was yet. All I knew was that it was Alice Cooper, and there was this guitar sound that was totally new and unreal to me. Well, that's not entirely true. I've owned a copy of Raise Your Fist And Yell since it first came out in 1987, and it was even more Metal. But, this album is different than that, and like I said, I had no parental influence other than my mom handing me the tape.

If Constrictor was released today, I would want to call it Love Metal. The musicianship is totally Metalesque, especially in an 80's kind of way, but it's more in touch with a romatic side of the world and life. I could totally see HIM covering this entire album, barely altering anything, and making it totally Love Metal. Which brings me to how my views of this album have flipped right around over the years.

In between the ages of ten and twelve I was always grounded to my room. My mother was an out of control Nazi, and was hell bent on grinding me into her subserviant bitch. However, that didn't really matter because I spent most of that time being the "Weird Kid" at a Catholic school in one of the most pretentious areas of the city, so I didn't hang out with many kids. My life was a living hell of loneliness, and if it wasn't for this album along with a handful of other Alice Cooper cassettes I would have taken a flying leap out of my second story window. Metal saves lives.

I picked the CD up pretty early in the 90's. I owned it no later than 1994. But the problem is that I had, and still have, some wounds that run really deep, and this album is directly connected to them. So, even though I had the album, I really didn't listen to it much. I still don't pull it out that often.

However, that brings me to the modern era for me, and my first day of going back to school, and how I put this album on for one specific song and ended up writing a full review.

I decided to go back to school to become a Web Technologies Specialist, which was inspired by time in college for Journalism (1997-1999), where I discovered website design. I have finally (in 2012) said "fuck it, I'm going back to school for this now." I want to be the great Canadian success story, but the song I needed to listen to was The Great American Success Story, which I'll get to later. So, this album went in, and then the power of this album flowed back into me. Along with a bunch of mixed up thoughts, like how my views on ninety percent of these songs has almost completely changed in the twenty-three years since I first got this cassette.

A big lightning strike and a wicked awesome guitar barage open up this album, which then moves into a solid paced Hard Rock riff. Teenage Frankenstein, is a song that is meant to appeal to a younger audience, at least in concept, and as the "Weird Kid" it was kind of a theme song for me. The first verse for example sets up the idea, "I'm the kid on the block / With my head made of rock / And I ain't got nobody / I'm the state of the art / Got a brain a la carte / I make the babies cry / I ain't one of the crowd / I ain't one of the guys / They just avoid me / They run and they hide / Are my colours too bright / Are my eyes set too wide / I spend my whole life / Burning, turning", but the second verse drives home a mentality I still carry to this day. "Got a synthetic face / Got some scars and a brace / My hands are rough and bloody / I walk into the night / Women faint at the sight / I ain't no cutie-pie / I can't walk in the day / I must walk in the night / Stay in the shadows / Stay out of the light / Are my shoulders too wide / Is my head screwed on tight / I spend my whole life / Burning, turning". You can remove the teenage part of the song and it still fits for so many people I know, including myself.

The one song on this album I've never cared for was Give It Up. It's musically decent, and enjoyable, but the lyrical content, is a bit of a bring down, when you want to keep going. "Just when you got it made / And all your bills are paid / You stumble and fall into your grave / Ah, too bad". I just don't need that type of downer, even though it's true. Musically the song is decent, but kind of standard for the time.

Thrill My Gorilla, is one of those songs I don't know how to take. "Sukie honey, weren't you right there with me / I seem to remember chasing you from tree to tree / Those prehistoric nights are coming back to me / We must have been the first / To go down in history / Where were you when the monkey hit the fan / Thrill my gorilla / Where were you when monkey turned to man / Thrill my gorilla / We lay on our skins, original sins / Ah, ah, ah, ah yeah / We touch, we feel / We scream, we squeal / Thrill my gorilla / Thrill my gorilla". Clearly you can't take this song serious, but at the same time you kind of want to. To be honest I would have loved to have heard the Ramones do a cover of this one. This song has their type of vibe to it.

As a kid Life And The Death Of The Party had little to no meaning to me. As an adult I love this song. It's so dark and beautiful. This is truly a Love Metal song, and could easily be Goth Metal, if say Type O Negative had covered it. "You walk into the room, everybody stares / The talking stops, there's a silence there / The room is yours, you own it now / You're in control and everybody down here knows / You got a place in my heart, I don't want you there / But you come and you go, like a millionaire / You take a walk right across my soul / You're in control and everybody down here knows / You're the life and the death of the party / You got my heart right by the throat / You're the life and the death of the party / When the stage lights rise / You start and stop the show / You love me bad, you love me good / You're unimpressed, that's understood / I lost it all, you knew I would / You're in control and everybody down here knows / You're the life and the death of the party / You got my heart right by the throat / You're the life and the death of the party / With your head held high /You start and stop the show / It's just one night / It's just one time / It's just one hotel room / It's just another dream / That can't come true / You're the life and the death of the party / You got my heart right by the throat / You're the life and the death of the party / When the stage lights rise / You start and stop the show". Aside from the part about "being in my heart" and not wanting them there, I would say that this song also reminds me of a certain editor I know, but not in the negative context that it seems to be protrayed here. Like I said this song is Love Metal.

Simple Disobedience is one of those songs that is just as relevant today as it was twenty-five years ago, maybe even more so today. "Now all your complex little schemes that form your master plan / Are scrambled up and that is something you just don't understand / A cyclone of confusion rips right through your holy troops / The very thing that weakens you gives power, gives me juice / And all the hungry outlaws have taken up a stance / Simple disobedience / Yeah, all the hungry outlaws have taken up a stance / Simple disobedience / Take your laser microscope and try to find an answer / No antidote or drug to cure our special strain of cancer / It spreads its revolution wide from cell to cell to cell / Your kingdom's like your body, it dies and goes to hell". Now even with all this raw anger waiting to spill out, it's the guitar work that really makes this song powerful. Kane Roberts' fills, and just general playing is so mean. This was a great way to end side one of the cassette, or vinyl picture album (I still own this one).

The second side starts up with The World Need Guts. This is another song that should be considered a theme for the times. "Hey you! / Crying 'cause your best friend's splattered against the wall Hey you! / Some maniac butcher's tryin' to hack away your balls Oh yeah! / Back 'em off, brother / Oh yeah! / Terminate the mother now / You know you gotta get hard / The world needs guts / The world needs power / Show me some blood / Show me some cuts / Show me some scars / The world needs guts / The world needs us". However, I don't care for this one like I do with Simple Disobedience. I find this song to be a little typically 80's Metal for my liking.

I love songs about S&M, and Alice has always written some of the best. "Tie you up baby, really tight / In a lover's knot / I'm in the mood for my / Leather boots / With the leopard spots / Take you down to my side of town / Where I learned to love / Strap you down, honey / Pet you nice with my velvet glove / You dial my number / So let me take the lead / I'm the man, understand / With the smooth slight of hand / And all the magic you need / T-t-t-t-t trick bag, sit back and just enjoy the show / Burn you with desire / Trick bag, come on and let your body go / Gonna lay it on thick / So the memory'll stick". What's even better about the song Trick Bag, is that musically it was originally He's Back, but when Alice was asked to change the music for the theme song for Friday The 13th Part VI, as per studio request, he kept this really catchy number and altered the lyrics. I'll get to the album version of He's Back, shortly.

Crawlin' is your basic 80's sex song. It's hot, sexy, and more Rock than Metal. "Your dress is hangin' on a hook on the door / My jeans are lying in a pile on the floor, yeah / Flat on my back, tryin' to catch my breath / When we were rockin' tonight / I thought that we were gonna rock to death / But what's that in your eyes? / I'm no longer paralysed / Here we go again / Crawlin', you come crawling to me / I go crawling to you / We come crawling / You come crawling to me / I go crawling to you". It's a great song from a youthful mentality, from my current point of view, I love the music, and chuckle slyly at the lyrics.

The Great American Success Story is the whole reason I started this review today. I don't totally relate to every lyric, but I totally sympathize with the entire song. It's my song of the week this week. "He was born in a depressed nation / Started tough and worked his way right off the street / Thumbed his nose at a graduation / Wheeled and dealed, his education was complete / He's got all his hair, but his life is a wreck / Always been a brat, he don't get no respect / He's got the time, he's got the money / You better get out of his way / You better watch out for him, sonny / Back to school / He's gonna take that plunge / Gonna jump back in there / Back to school / He's gonna shape his mind / Gonna shed old skin there / Back to school / Spent some time in appreciation of finer arts / And the human body mysteries / Scoring high in procreation / Got an 'A' in the study of female anatomy / He thinks about his teacher in his literary class / He's staring at her legs / But he's dreaming 'bout her face / He's got the time / He's got the money / You better get out of his way / You better watch out for him, sonny / Back to school / He's gonna take that plunge / Gonna jump back in there / Back to school / He's gonna shape his mind / Gonna shed old skin there / Back to school" The story behind this song is that apparently it was intended as the theme song to the Rodney Dangerfield film Back to School, but wasn't used, to which I'm thankful. I think this song was too serious for that. In fact this is one of the most serious songs Alice has ever released. There is no tongue in cheek, no twisted content, just pure straight ahead serious content. This song is almost the anti School's Out.

Constrictor ends with He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask). As I already mentioned, this was the theme from Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. As a kid I loved this song so much more than I do now, and the main reason is due to all the keyboard work on this song. As a kid I thought it was really cool, and I still think it sounds awesome, but now a days I'd much rather hear more guitar instead. The cool part is how well the lyrics sum up the concept of the movie, right down to the "baby." "You're with your baby / And you're parked alone / On a summer night / You're deep in love / But you're deeper in the woods / You think you're doin' alright / Did you hear that voice / Did you see that face / Or was it just a dream / This can't be real / That only happens, babe / On the movie screen / Oh, but he's back / He's the man behind the mask / And he's out of control". I would still love to see Alice perform this song live, because it is wicked cool and the only song from this album he ever breaks out. But, sadly he only breaks it out for the Swedish. That might have something to do with it being a number one hit there, and they didn't even get the movie at the time.

At the end of it all, I really do love this album, but I can respect that it mainly sounds dated, and in the grand scheme of Alice Cooper it's not all that exciting. There's a lot more keyboard work on this album than I care for, and the lyrical content is a bit repetitive. Then again, this was 80's Metal, so what do you expect. I'm not sure if I would suggest this album to anyone except for an Alice Cooper fan, but if you like 80's Metal this could be an album for you too. The best way to sum it up would be Dio (Holy Diver era) meets Motley Crue (pre Dr. Feelgood). If that interests you, check this one out.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bean - The Album

There are some albums you pick up just because you really want one song, and it's the only way to get it. Well, that was how it was before mp3's anyway. Bean, The Album, which is the soundtrack for the first Mr. Bean movie, is one of those albums. The album is full of shit covers, of some equally crappy songs. However, it's not all bad. There are some songs, and even one cover, that I enjoy.

The album opens with a cover of Randy Newman's I Love L.A., which is being performed by OMC. I think it stands for Only Massive Crap. They took a song that was at least okay, and turned it into complete ass.

Boyzone and their Picture Of You can be skipped with extreme prejudice. That was you can get to I Get Around from the Beach Boys. This was a favourite of mine as a kid. Ever since I first saw Flight Of The Navigator. It's just a good, fun, summertime song.

Walking On Sunshine by Katrina And the Waves is another one of those fun songs. It's not my cup of tea, but I understand the enjoyment this song brings. That's one thing I do really like about this album. As much as it sucks, it's also very upbeat and fun.

I'm not sure why they added so many audio clips from the movie either. I find that in most cases it takes away from the album. It's not like they are putting in clips of great dialouge like Tarantino does with his soundtracks. It's just one or two sentences that are being used to set up a song, sort of.

Feel free to skip Wet Wet Wet's cover of The Beatle's Yestersday. It's not a bad cover, but I'm not a fan of the original song either. I'm not a big fan of water coloured memories songs.

Running Back For More by Louise is continuing the trend of music I don't care for. In fact this one song sounds like Motown stock, that was dug out of some last tape found in the basement of a studio, where it should have stayed buried.

Thomas Jules-Stock can take That Kinda Guy and sodomize himself with it. Also, whoever thought it should go in the movie, or on this CD should also be sodomized by That Kinda Guy too.

I'm not sure why there's so much Adult Contemporary on this album. Gve Me A Little More Time by Gabrielle has the exact same appeal for me as Running Back For More. In fact these may have been recorded during the same session even, which I know they weren't, but it really sounds that way. The only bright side to this song is that it will cure insomnia, as I'm falling asleep writing this.

He's A Rebel also fits into what I wrote about Running Back For More, except this is a bit more upbeat, and the most enjoyable of all the cheesey Motown sounding stock songs on this album.

One of my favourite songs of all time came from a movie soundtrack. Resevoir Dogs introduced me to Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel. This album has a completely shit cover of that song by Susanna Hoffs. It's like they tried to make it a Hip Hop/Country/60's Classic Rock hybrid, and it only comes across as a second rate Sheryl Crow wannabe cover instead. I would like Mr. Blonde to reinact his famous scene using Hoffs as the cop.

The band 10cc is one of those bands from the 70's I don't know that well. They are a British Art Rock Band, but I think they sound more like Frank Zappa wannabes, at least if you go by Art For Art's Sake, which is the song from them on this album. You can skip Blair's Have Fun Go Mad as well. It's okay, in a very stock Funk kind of way. You can do the same thing with Code Red's Can We Talk (Pure Radio Mix). What a piece of crap. Worst song on the entire album.

Now, what I normally do when I feel like listening to this album, which is never, is skip to track fourteen and let it play through the rest of the album. Bean Theme (Mad Pianos) by Howard Goodall is fantastic. It's your typical movie score styled song, but it's a much needed break here from all the other crap. The Piano work on this piece is just awesome.

Which brings me to the last song on the album, which is the whole reason I bought this album. Bruce Dickinson performing Alice Cooper's Elected. Well, it's specifically Mr. Bean And The Smear Campaign (Featuring Bruce Dickinson). I love this cover, because Bean's humour is just hilarious on this song. I love his campaign promises, and the cheap shots at various public figures. Then there's the fact that Bruce Dickinson is covering an Alice Cooper song. How the hell do you go wrong with this? It's just genius. However, I would love to have a version of this song without Bean's part as well.

I will not suggest anyone pick up this album. It's complete crap, with the exception of the three songs I Get Around, Bean Theme, and Elected, as far as I'm concerned. I would suggest downloading those three, but nothing more.

2/10 - content

5/10 - production

2/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HIM - Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666

I didn't get into HIM (His Infernal Majesty) until the video for Wing Of A Butterfly came out. I heard a couple of tunes before that, but I really didn't know all that much. To this day I still haven't bought enough HIM albums, but when the economy sucks what are you going to do? Also having kids slows down your album buying powers as well.

So, to continue on, I always keep an eye out for weird and unusual CDs from artists, especially if they are cheap. That doesn't always mean you are going to get a good CD, but sometimes you luck out. Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, is a half and half album. However, there are some parts about this album that really piss me off. The biggest is the 55 tracks of dead air space, that vary between nine seconds and thirty-three seconds. I have yet to see if there is some type of message in the number of times, but I really don't care that much. The problem is that they lead to a track that's pretty much all dead space and when something does finally play it's complete shit. Not worth all the dead air time you have to sit through, or take the time to skip through. Also it really fucks up the flow when the CD is mixed into my 25 disc player.

The album opens with Your Sweet Six Six Six, which is a good Love Metal song. I know, right now you're going "Love Metal?" It's the best way to describe HIM's music and they have an album of the same name, which is where I stole the phrase from. As for what Love Metal is, well it's pretty much Black Sabbath meets The Doors meets Def Leppard. It's music meant to sweet talk women with a fun darker side. It's romantic, while still being heavy as all fuck, and contains the lyrical content of macabre poetry. Basically, HIM is audio panty remover for Goth-like chicks. But, back to the song at hand.

Your Sweet Six Six Six has a great rhythm and driving beat. It's quick, but slow and smooth and there's just something so beautiful about a man taking in a woman's evil. "I'm losing my faith in you / But you don't want it to be true / But there's nothing you can do / There is no thing you can do - yes, I've lost my faith in you / Waiting for your call / And I'm ready to take your six six six in my heart / And I'm longing for your touch and I welcome your sweet / Six six six in my heart / Right here in this heart".

The next track is one of the best covers I have ever heard done. There are some songs that when you hear them for the first time you fall in love. Chris Isaac's Wicked Game was one of them. I think the song is just so sexy. The version that HIM performs on this album, isn't just sexy. It's everything that the video for the Chris Isaac version of the song was, but just in audio form. It is the vocanic island, with the sexy couple passionately soaking each other in, while David Lynch directs, and an awesome song plays. I mean it is so sexy, and hot, and dirty, and heavy, and yummy. This song is so fucking yummy.

The Heartless is one of those songs that's a little closer to Def Leppard sounding than it is to Black Sabbath. I don't mind it in a mix, but I'm not fond of it just on the CD. The song does have some coolness to it, but for the most part it's a skipper to me.

Our Diabolikal Rapture is really heavy. I don't care how pretty Ville Valo is, this song is still a monster kicking the door in. As well as being a shining example of effective ambience use. The only problem I have with this song is that it tends to feel like it runs longer than it really does. The song is 5:21 and feels closer to 7:30, maybe even a full 8:00.

The tempo feels much quicker, there's a nice even flow, and the vocals have more dynamics. It's All Tears (Drown In This Love) is a good pick-me-up, after the last track. Somehow this song also tends to feel longer than it really is, but this time it's not a bad thing. It just manages to have an epic like feel to it. I do really hate the way the song ends, though. It makes me think something just shorted out in my stereo everytime.

You don't get anymore Def Leppard sounding on this album than When Love And Death Embrace, which I'm willing to argue was inspired at least in part, by When Love And Hate Collide. This is the second longest real song on this album, and it's so well done that you don't notice the length so much. My only real complaint is how repetative the song gets. The solo should have kicked in around the four minute marker instead of at 5:17.

I'm not sure what to make of The Beginning Of The End. It's one of those songs that seems over produced, to try and make it overly artsy. At the same time it's heavy in a weird way.

After that it's on to a cover of (Don't Fear) The Reaper. It's not as good as the original, but the way it's been turned into a duet is very nice. It gives it a completely new feel, while staying faithful to the original.

The album ends officially with For You. It's pretty basic, and nothing overly special. It's another filler.

Then it's forever and ever until the bonus track, which as I mentioned isn't all that exciting. In fact it's total crap, and I wouldn't even wait for it.

On the whole I'm not overly impressed with this album, it's decent, but better as just a few mp3s on my player instead.

6/10 - content

5/10 - production

4/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow

When you know shit all about a band, except for one or two songs, and who a couple of members are, it's hard to know what albums to buy. That's one of the coolest things about the 20th Century Masters albums. I've bought two of these over the years, the first one was for The Scorpions, and I will eventually get to that review. The other was for Rainbow.

When I picked up The Best Of Rainbow The Millenium Collection I knew two things about the band, Ronnie James Dio was the vocalist and Ritchie Blackmore was the guitarist. The only song I knew by name was Man On The Silver Mountain, which is why I bought this album, and that was all that mattered. However, I wanted to know more and I figure this nice, inexpesive album, would be a great place to start.

I will mention that you can find at least one song from every Rainbow studio album on here except for Stranger In Us All (1995) which wasn't actually meant to be a Rainbow album. Also, the only live album represented was On Stage (1977). The idea is that this album represents the years between 1975 and 1983, the official Rainbow years.

The album opens with the only song I knew for sure from Rainbow. Man On The Silver Mountain has been one of my greatest loves since I first heard it. I know I was young, and it was in the car with my dad.

Catch the Rainbow is a very pretty song. It's slow, mesmerizing, and just moves along like the sun crossing a field of wild flowers. It's safe to say that this song catches a rainbow no problem.

Stargazer is one of those songs I'm not sure how I know it. I don't remember it from being in the car, I don't remember anyone in my family owning the Rising album, and I don't recall ever hearing a cover of this song. It could be that it's a bit typical of Hard Rock/Metal bands of that time, and has a very distinctively Dio/Blackmore vibe which makes it sound like Deep Purple and Heaven And Hell (Dio/Black Sabbath) all at the same time. Either way this is an intense epic of a song that takes you through a rapid 8:28 battle of Dungeons & Dragons magnitude. This is the type of song that you know inspired Power Metal.

I find it interesting that a cover of Deep Purple's Mistreated was put on this album. It's a 13:09 track from the On Stage live album. I know this song best as a little fuck around piece between Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammet on the Live Shit: Binge And Purge box set, and it's only a minute or so long. This version is a bit longer than I want to listen to, and it offers very little musically, except for what I would call some quiet guitar dicking around. I probably would have opted to edit the version that ended up on this disc a little.

Kill The King is a really good, fast, high octane, battle of wild spirits. If it were not for the sound of the porduction on this song, I would probably enjoy the song a lot more. I find Dio's vocals sound almost gurgly and muffled and the drums and the bass are pushed too far foward in the mix, to the point that it causes everything else to get lost in the mix. It sounds more like a demo, and less like a studio track.

I find it amazing that of all the songs they could pick from the Long Live Rock 'N' Roll album, they went with Rainbow Eyes. I can understand Kill The King, because it was a popular song before the studio album release was even available, but Rainbow Eyes? I'm not sure if compilation producer Bill Levenson wanted to show the rich dynamic the band had to offer or wanted to just fuck with everyone, but for some reason he opted to include this really pretty mellow number. This also marks the last track featuring Ronnie Jame Dio.

I absolutely love the song Since You Been Gone, which is a Russ Ballard penned track. It's also the only track to feature Graham Bonnet as vocalist on this collection. "So in the night I stand beneath the backstreet light / I read the words that you sent to me / I can take the afternoon, the night time comes around / too soon / You can't know what you mean to me / Your poison letter, your telegram / Just goes to show you don't give a damn / Since you been gone / Since you been gone / I'm out of my head can't take it / Could I be wrong / But since you been gone / You cast your spell so break it / Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh / Since you been gone". I know it's very commercial material, but it's just so much fun. It's upbeat, plesant, and works more like a big flip of the bird, than a whiney I'm so sad song.

I surrender is also a Russ Ballard song, but from this point, until the end of the album Joe Lynn Turner is the vocalist. I'm not much of a fan of this song. It's okay, but very standard sounding early 80's Metal.

I really like the slow groove of Stone Cold. The production value has a very 80's sound to it, and it comes off sounding a bit Def Leppard-esque instead of sounding Blackmore awesome. But other than that, it's a pretty decent sounding tune. Power is a pretty upbeat number that's really rockin'. But that's about all I really have to say about this one. It's a really decent filler in the grand scheme of Blackmore.

I remember when Street Of Dreams came out. Keyboards where becoming huge in the Metal universe, and most of it was to help bust into more of the American music market. In the grand scheme of things, I don't mind this song, but it's not my thing. If I heard a version done differently I may enjoy this song more, but in the meantime it will have to just be "okay".

After listening to this album, I will say that I'm not a Rainbow fan. However, that's due to the music just not appealing to me, for more than half of this CD. I will say that my curiosity is intrigued enough to go out and buy the first Rainbow album, and then take it from there.

As far as this collection goes I am upset about the lack of reproducing on these songs. I'm slowly getting to a point where I'm getting annoyed at the lack of remastering being done to these old tracks. Basically most of the album sounds like they digitized the old master tapes without doing anything to them. They just ran them through the machine and put them on a CD. These songs should have been remastered, it really would have made a world of difference.

6/10 - content

5/10 - production

5/10 - personal bias

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dazed And Confused

Every generation has a movie that defines the generation before them. In the 70's George Lucas gave us American Graffitti. In the 80's we had countless movies about the 60's, mainly in regards to the Vietnam War. In the 1990's Dazed And Confused was released, and instantly became a cult classic. One of the major reasons was the soundtrack.

Everyone that was anyone, with the exception of Led Zeppelin were on the soundtrack for this movie. The music was so popular that they released two sperate CDs, and jammed each one full of Classic Rock standards.

This review is for the first soundtrack album. We'll call it Dazed And Confused's "Aqua Album", which was the album that contained the bigger, more commercial hits. The second album in retrospect is the album more worth getting and we'll call it the "Pink Album".

The first track on the album is Rick Derringer's Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo, which is a a good selection to start off this collection. I'm not much of a fan of the song, but musically it's solid and the lyrics are acceptabley tolerable, based on the content of the song. When I listened to this album way back when, I normally skipped this track. Now, I'm willing to listen to it, and I enjoy it to a small extent.

After that comes Slow Ride. This was the main song in the movie. I think it was played more than any other song. This Foghat song became so over played at one point that I couldn't listen to this song for a good couple years without wanting to hit the skip button. Now a days I totally dig on it. The only time I hear the song is if I have my Mp3 player on, or happen to throw this CD into the player. It's not even played on the radio much anymore, which is also nice. The overkill on this song really sucked the life out of a great, energetic, slightly funkylicious, good times tune.

After that it's on to Alice Cooper's School's Out, which I've covered before, but here's a little recap. This has got to be the most recognised song in history. It opens with a riff so legandary that is was even inscribed on Glen Buxton's (the guitarist that wrote and played it) tombstone. If you don't know the song, I'm sorry you spent your childhood in a coma, or under some cruel dictatorship.

Jim Dandy is another one of those songs I don't care for, but I respect it on this collection. It's got a lot of boogie, major dance appeal, and a catchy chorus. It's interesting, and even a bit exciting musically. However, I find the song to be a bit too Pop Bubble Gum sounding for me. Listening to this song has never inspired me to look into discovering more about Black Oak Arkansas.

I feel the need to mention that this movie takes place in Texas in the 1970's and the music in this movie does clearly reflect that. There are some bands on here that were much bigger in Texas than they were in the Midwest, and bands that had been huge in the Midwest were left out all together. Then there are bands that were global successes.

However, you can't have a movie that takes place in Texas and not have ZZ Top on the soundtrack. Since this album contains the big radio hits that would leave only two choices and the option they went with was Tush. As I've stated before, never have more honest words been spoken. "I been up, I been down. / Take my word, my way around. / I ain't askin' for much. / I said, Lord, take me downtown, / I'm just lookin' for some tush. / I been bad, I been good, / Dallas, Texas, Hollywood. / I ain't askin' for much. / I said, Lord, take me downtown, /I'm just lookin' for some tush. / Take me back way back home, / Not by myself, not alone. /I ain't askin' for much. / I said, Lord, take me downtown, / I'm just lookin' for some tush."

I hate Nazareth's Love Hurts. It's such a typical ballad, that it sickens me. I hate the way his voice sounds on the song, and everytime I hear this track I want to kick the members of the band in the balls. Luckily, I really enjoy almost every other Nazareth song I have ever heard, so I can somewhat forgive them.

After that comes Ted Nugent's Stranglehold. I've covered this one before, and since I'm not much of a fan of the song, I'm just going to copy and paste what I wrote before:

Every band has that one song that I can never figure out why it's so popular. For Ted Nugent the song is Stranglehold. It's a good solid song. I won't deny that, but it's a little boring from a Ted Nugent point of view. It's a bit too much in the way of guitar wanking to be enjoyable. It's like Ted opted to go all Pink Floyd, without understanding what being all Pink Floyd is all about.

I love The Runaways' Cherry Bomb. It's bad ass, full of attitude, and proof that girls can rock just as hard as guys can. The only thing that ever hurt this band was the fact they didn't have penises. Also it's nice to hear girls be just as naughty as the guys. "Hey street boy what's your style / Your dead end dreams don't make you smile / I'll give ya something to live for / Have ya, grab ya til your sore / Hello Daddy, hello Mom / I'm your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb / Hello world I'm your wild girl / I'm your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb". If only girls today had these type of balls.

Sweet's Fox On the Run follows that up, and although it's a bit chauvanistic lyrically, it's absolutely fantastic. The music is fun, but not Bubble Gum Pop, it's British Glam, which, when done right can be fantastic. This song is totally done right.

Low Rider has been one of my favourite songs since I first heard it on Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke. War was one of those bands that was really big in the Southern U.S., especially with states that had a larger Mexican/Latino/whatever the proper term is, population. From what I understand this was the only song that really broke into other markets successfully.

I normally stop the CD after that last song. Not because the rest of the CD sucks, just the next song does, but because I've heard every other song hundreds of times, or I own the songs on various different albums.

The first of the last four songs is Lynyrd Skynyrd's Tuesday's Gone. This song is ass. I don't like this version. I don't like Metallica's cover. I don't like this song. It's like they decided to take a great idea, slower, more soulful Sourthern music, and then totally fuck up the formula. I love songs like Free Bird and Simple Man, which are great songs that take their time to reach epicness. But, it's good epicness and not this slow sissy ballad shit. Quit your fucking whining.

After that, the last three songs are Deep Purple's Highway Star, Kiss' Rock And Roll All Night and Black Sabbath's Paranoid. I've covered all these songs before too. I'm just going to republish the previous write-ups for those songs, but with slight tweeks. Like I said, the album ends after Low Rider for me.

I really don't like Highway Star. It's just so over played at this point. I find it's more over played than Smoke On The Water, which I also enjoy better. There is something about last minute songs, inspired by tragic events that just make amazing history.

The second last song on the album is the most famous Kiss song ever. Rock And Roll All Night, which showcases one thing about American culture. Over played, cheaply written, Pop songs, meant for the lowest common denominator to even understand, are way too popular.

I'm sure I'll take some heat for this, but let's be honest. If it were not for Ace's solo in the song, it would be Peter Criss banging out the same non stop tempo as the guys sing, "I wanna rock and roll all nite / And party everyday", over and over and over again. I'd also like to point out that Gene Simmons should be sued for false advertising everytime he personally plays this song. After all, he pretty much booted Ace out of the band for doing that exact thing.

If you don't know Paranoid, something has gone drastically wrong in your life, and I am sorry. This song should be considered one of the most over played songs in history. I should be ranting and raving about how tired I am of hearing this song, God knows I've done it with many others, some also on this soundtrack. However, Paranoid may be one of the single greatest songs under three minutes. This is also the song that I say is the complete blueprints for what became Trash Metal.

In retrospect, I wish I had bought the Pink Album as well, or instead. The track list was a little less of the over played stuff, and a little more of the unique stuff. However, this disc is great in a mix.

10/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ramones - Greatest Hits

Let me start with the levity of this album's name. Greatest Hits implies that all of these songs were some type of successful songs, that made it on to the radio, where they received ample play. That is so funny. This is a Ramones album, which means radio play should never happen, except for college stations. That doesn't mean that these songs never get played on the radio, it just means that it doesn't happen often. Of all the records the Ramones ever released the highest charting album was End Of The Century, and that was number 10 on the Sverigetopplistan (the Swedish national record chart).

That being said, this is definately a "Best of" album. It contains twenty songs that are every real "Big name" Ramones classic you can think of, and even a few you might not think about.

The album opens with the most popular Ramones song of all time, Blitzkrieg Bop. This is not the big fancy radio edit, but the songs have all been remastered so it's all good. I don't feel a need to really get into this song, you should already know it. After that comes Beat On The Brat. "Beat on the brat / Beat on the brat / Beat on the brat with a baseball bat / Oh yeah, oh yeah, uh-oh. / What can you do? / What can you do? / With a brat like that always on your back / What can you do? (lose?)" That's the entire song, and the simple, kind of musically bland, song is just honest and true.

Judy Is A Punk is a very quick 1:32, and it's the shortest song on this collection. To be honest I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to song length, and to me when it's this short it's more of skipping rope song (which it really does sound like) than a Rock song. To me a song should be no shorter than two and a half minutes.

"Hey, little girl / I wanna be your boyfriend / Sweet little girl / I wanna be your boyfriend / Do you love me babe? / What do you say? / Do you love me babe? / What can I say? / Because I wanna be your boyfriend". These lyrics mixed with music that resembles a 1950's high school dance, makes you wonder 'What is Punk really?" So, is I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend a Punk song? Sure it is. You may be able to dance to this one with your baby, but it still has the tension and vibe of a Punk song.

The only thought I really have about Sheena Is A Punk Rocker is "Why did they use Christmas bells in the second half of the chorus?" I shit you not, the second I hear those I seriously think this is a Christmas song everytime. Then five seconds later it's back to basic punk.

Pinhead is one my favourite ramones songs. "Gabba gabba we accept you, we accept you one of us! / Gabba gabba we accept you, we accept you one of us! / I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for. / I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for. / I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for. / I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for. / D-U-M-B / Everyone's accusing me! / D-U-M-B / Everyone's accusing me! / I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for. / I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for. / Gabba gabba hey!" This is pretty much a tip of the hat to the movie Freaks, which is about a travelling sideshow. Musically I find this one of the most kicking suped up Rock songs I have ever heard. I mean good old fasion Rock, no fancy descriptions or titles to help better describe it. I know that Commando isa very popular song by the band. However, it really doesn't do much for me. It's one of those songs that if I'm not paying attention I don't even notice I'm missing it.

I love how 1950's Rock the Ramones really are. A songs like Rockaway Beach could have totally been in movies like Beach Blanket Bingo, Muscle Beach Party, or Bikini Beach, except for the fact that it has that bit of a raw edge.

"We're a happy family / We're a happy family / We're a happy family / Me mom and daddy / Siting here in Queens / Eating refried beans / We're in all the magazines / Gulpin' down thorazines / We ain't got no friends / Our troubles never end / No Christmas cards to send / Daddy likes men / Daddy's telling lies / Baby's eating flies / Mommy's on pills / Baby's got the chills / I'm friends with the President / I'm friends with the Pope / We're all making a fortune / Selling Daddy's dope". Then repeat the lryics in various ways and you have We're A Happy Family, which is a pretty kickin' basic Punk song.

Cretin Hop is one of those songs I don't mind when it plays, but I have no use for it. It's a pretty standard Ramones songs.

Teenage Lobotomy is one of those songs that I can't help but love, but can't offer a decent reason why except that it's just good fun times.

The only Ramones song that may be as popular as Blitzkrieg Bop is I Wanna Be Sedated. I know that it's the song that introduced me to the the Ramones. It's still my favourite song by this band, and I will smile everytime I hear this song. I would cover this song with any band, and sing the fuck out of it. I seriously just love this song.

I Just Want To Have Something To Do has this great, almost creepy vibe to it musically. I'm not exactly sure if it's what they were going for but it really works, and makes the lyrics seem that much more sinister. "Hanging out of Second Avenue / Eating chicken vindaloo / I just want to be with you / I just want to have something to do / Tonight, tonight, tonight,tonight,tonight,tonight / Well allright. / Tonight, tonight, tonight,tonight,tonight,tonight / Wait-Now / Wait-Now / Hanging out all by myself / Cause I don't want to be with anybody else / I just want to be with you / I just want to have something to do / Tonight".

I should mention that when I put the lyrics up, you can kind of take it for granted that certain parts are repeated over and over until the end of the song.

Rock 'N' Roll High School was my first real introduction to the Ramones, and it was thanks to my Aunt Sue bringing a copy over for my sister's twelth birthday. It may have been a bit earlier, but I'm not sure. all I remember is her digging on it, and me shaking my head thinking what the fuck is this shit. In retrospect I love the movie much more now, but still find the song campy as hell.

Baby, I Love You is the most 1950's High School Dance sounding song on this album. It's also the most over produced. There's a string section in this song. Also, the song runs 3:45, and is the longest song on the album. There is not a single Punk thing about this song, but I like and respect it all the same.

Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio? is another really surprising song musically. Instead of strings, this one has a horn section. It's not done in a Ska style either. It's done in a style that sounds like a rock song with horns. "Will you remember Jerry Lee, / John Lennon, T. Rex and OI Moulty? / It's the end, the end of the 70's / It's the end, the end of the century". I'm pretty sure that last line is where the album title came from, that originally spawned this song.

The KKK Took My Baby Away is a just a fun song that I love singing, and bopping around to.

Outsider it a decent enough song. It doesn't do too much for me, but I don't mind listening to it. It's one of those songs that I find just kind of dissapears in the wood work.

My five favourite Ramones songs are Blitzkrieg Bop, Pinhead, I Wanna Be Sedated, I Just Want Something To Do, and Pet Sematary (<---the albums spelling, not mine). While I admit that the last song on that list is pretty bland by Ramones standards, I love it. First off I like the book that spawned the movie that this song was recorded for. But, when you consider that Stephen King is a huge Ramones fan it's all cool that they performed a song for his movie. Also, I am willing to accept and enjoy the keyboards in this song.

Wart Hog finishes off this collection poorly in my opinion. This is like that atypical bullshit Punk that you expect from bands like Rancid, or Black Flag, or another bunch off the list from the early 80's. Not the type of punk I enjoy, I've never been that kind of aggressive, which is to say brash, rash and spewing trash. All in all this is a pretty good collection of songs, for someone just getting into the Ramones or if you just want to throw on a decent mix. There are a couple of songs I would swap out with other songs not included, but for the most part, this album does what it is supposed to do.

8/10 - content

7/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wayne's World - The Basement Tapes

There are some songs that you really love, but have no clue where the song originally came from, or who is performing. Or maybe that band was a one hit wonder and you don't want to go out and buy a whole album of steaming turd for one song. I picked up Wayne's World The Basement Tapes when I was in high school, but after both movies had come out, and Mike Meyer and Dana Carvey were both long gone from Saturday Night Live. However, they had nothing to do with this album. Not even the song selection from what I can tell.

This album contains some of the greatest Rock songs to just have a good time to. That is the best way to describe this album the whole way around. It's a good times album.

The album opens with Mountain's Mississippi Queen. This was the first reason I bought this CD. I love this song, but the band was more or less a one hit wonder, and I never wanted to pick up anything else from them. I probably should and would now, but back then I wouldn't have.

Thin Lizzy's The Boys Are Back in Town is next. This song is everywhere. I own at least three separate CD's, one of which is actually a Thin Lizzy album, and unless the album is just playing through or I'm not paying close attention I tend to skip this one now a days. I've just heard it too much, and Thin Lizzy have so many better songs.

All Right Now, is the second reason I picked up this disc. This has been a favourite of mine since I was a wee lad. I don't know where I first heard this song, but it was most likely on WRIF, WLLZ or WCSX. I mean this song just makes me feel three kinds of awesome and at ease with the world, and that's a pretty nifty thing for me, since I generally hate the world.

I love that there's just a little CanCom on this CD, and they put it all together. First there's Kim Mitchell's I Am A Wild Party, and as much as I don't mind this song, I will admit it's a bit cheesey. However, if you listen to the song and really pay attention, you'll see the music and production are actually really cool, and worth a more attentive listen.

After that is Bachman Turner Overdrive's You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet. I don't like this song. It's a really good, solid song, but I just don't care for it. I find it's been over played, and over rated. But to be honest I'm not much of a BTO fan. I would have prefered that Takin' Care Of Business had been on here instead, even though I know it's even more commercial and over played.

I really like Nazareth. They are one of those bands that I think I'm going to have to go back and buy more than just a greatest hits from. I mean these guys are amazingly talented music writers. They only have one song I don't like and that's Love Hurts, which is not on here thankfully. Instead we get This Flight Tonight. This is just a wicked song. I love everything about it, including the rough, Brian Johnson-esque vocals.

Black Betty is one of those songs that's stupidly simple, and it makes it that much cooler. The best songs are never the complicated songs, it's always the simple songs that make the best Rock songs. However, that's not even the best part about this song. The best part is the fact that the song is pretty much a four minute song, with three minutes of kick ass jamming.

One of my absolute favourite songs of all time is Radar Love from Golden Earring. This song is just so cool, and bad ass, even if it is all about the longing for a woman. "I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel / There's a voice in my head, that drives my heel / It's my baby callin', says, "I need you here" / Ans it's half past four, and I'm shifting gear / When she's lonely and the longing gets too much / She sends a cable comin' in from above / Don't need no phone at all / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a wave in the air, radar love / The radio's playing some forgotten song / Brenda Lee's coming on strong / The road's got me hypnotized / And I'm speeding into a new sunrise / When I get lonely, and I'm sure I've had enough / She sends her comfort, comin' in from above / Don't need no letter at all / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a line in the sky, radar love / No more speed, I'm almost there / Gotta keep cool, now gotta take care / Last car to pass, here I go / And the line of cars drove down real slow / And the radio played that forgotten song / Brenda Lee's coming on strong / And the newsman sang his same song / One more radar lover gone / When I get lonely, and I'm sure I've had enough / She sends her comfort, comin' in from above / We don't need no letter at all / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a line in the sky / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a thing that's called radar love". Now once you get past the coolness of the lyrics you have to prep yourself for the music. I know most of it sounds simple at first, but by the time you hit the mid section, with the kickin' drum break, you know these guys are serious musicians, playing some serious music. Oh yeah, this is also one of those songs I love to karaoke as well.

I feel I should mention that there are three songs in a row that suck up almost a third of this album on their own. The first was Radar Love, clocking in at 6:24, then Paradise By The Dashboard Light at 8:24, and finally Don't Fear The Reaper at 5:05. All of which are fantastic songs, no matter how much some people may complain about the length of the songs.

Meatloaf's Paradise is one of the best Duets ever recorded. Not only does it border on musical genius, but the production is astounding. My only complaint is I find the "Let me sleep on it part" runs a bit longer than I care for. However, the performance value to this song is through the roof. It's one of those songs that I'm a bit bummed I've never been able to at least Karaoke. Not enough women know this song in this day and age I find, and that's sad, because they might learn something. Like don't use sex to try and trap a man.

Blue Oyster Cult is one of those bands that I have only developed more and more respect for over the years. I started out loving Godzilla, then creamed myself after discovering Don't Fear The Reaper, then it was on to more and more craziness. However, if there was ever a song about love that was meant to blow your mind, it was Reaper. Forget that creepy, scary, ominous mid section that's meant to strike fear into your soul, and is a masterpiece of music in it's own. Look at the lyrics. "All our times have come / Here but now they're gone / Seasons don't fear the reaper / Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..we can be like they are / Come on baby...don't fear the reaper / Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper / We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper / Baby I'm your man... / la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la / Valentine is done / Here but now they're gone / Romeo and Juliet / Are together in eternity...Romeo and Juliet / 40,000 men and women everyday...Like Romeo and Juliet / 40,000 men and women everyday...Redefine happiness / Another 40,000 coming everyday...We can be like they are / Come on baby...don't fear the reaper / Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper / We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper / Baby I'm your man... / Love of two is one / Here but now they're gone / Came the last night of sadness / And it was clear she couldn't go on / Then the door was open and the wind appeared / The candles blew then disappeared / The curtains flew then he appeared...saying don't be afraid / Come on baby...and she had no fear / And she ran to him...then they started to fly / They looked backward and said goodby...she had become like they are / She had taken his hand...she had become like they are / Come on baby...don't fear the reaper". That's just so much beauty and death wrapped up in one.

If it were not for one more song on this album, I would stop it after BOC's classic. I don't care for two out of the last four songs, and one of the two I like is just way too much of a joke song to ever take too seriously.

Let me start with Trooper's Raise A Little Hell. Which, is a good song in it's own right, but to me it's a skipper. I also feel the same way about Teenage Head's Let's Shake, but I wouldn't say it's good. It's an okay New Wave/Punk hybrid sounding song, but not as good as the bands that perfected that sound, like Blondie, Devo, or The Talking Heads.

The album finishes with Chuck Berry's My Ding-A-Ling, which is a giant, fun, overkill, innuendo. It's great for a laugh and it makes me smile everytime. However, I don't generally bother to listen to it, unless it's just playing on the CD player. Back when I didn't own more than a five disc CD player, I normally never made it to My Ding-A-Ling because I stopped the CD after track thirteen, which is Grand Funk Railroad's version of The Loco-motion, which is pretty much like any other version you've ever heard, except it's by Grand Funk Railroad. I've DJ'ed a few events in my time, and I've busted this song out everytime, and the reaction is always one of true excitement. This version is just so lively, and energetic. Not to mention it sounds like a real rock song, instead of Girl Pop, like the other two more popular versions.

If you ever come across this CD, I suggest you pick it up. That is unless you own these songs on other albums. However, this disc is just about the best mix of greatest, yet sometimes overlooked, classic rock songs I have ever come across. Even if all of the songs don't tickle my fancy.

9/10 - content

7/10 - production

9/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ozzy Osbourne - Tribute

On March 19, 1982 a guitar ledgend died when a small plane slammed into the side of a house. Not only did the world lose Randy Rhoads' amazing gift for the guitar, but Ozzy Osbourne lost one of his best friends.

Randy Rhoads was only able to play on two studio albums with Ozzy, Blizzard Of Oz and Diary Of A Madman, before his very untimely death. So, how does one pay homage to their friend and musical partner? They release a live album featuring the guitar god doing what he does best. But don't worry, this album has much more than just live tracks from two albums. You'll have to excuse my lack of talking about the lyrics on this one. This album is about Randy, and this review will reflect that. The album opens with I Don't Know.

From there it's on to Rhoads' most famous riff. The opening of Crazy Train is one of those guitar riffs that everyone knows. Hell, they have made commercials featuring children performing this one in a car, without any instruments. This is the song that made Ozzy a successful solo artist, and made Randy a household name.

After that comes Believer. I will admit that I have never owned a copy of Diary Of a Madman, so I don't know this song that well, except for on this album. I'm personally good with that, since this track is fantastic on here. In fact the sound quality of this entire album is pretty impressive. If I hadn't known better, I would have almost sworn that these songs were live studio tracks. The best part about this song is the way Randy let's it breathe. Sure he plays a blistering fast solo, but for the most part he just let's the song take it's own shape.

Mr. Crowley is one of those songs that is fantastic, and can never be overlooked. However, it can be overplayed, and thus loses it's magical effect. But none of that matters when you hit the two minute marker and all of a sudden this solo just starts to fly out of the speakers like some type of night bird soaring to infinite freedom. Then around the 3:18 point, he does the exact opposite with his solo at first. Letting it go low and almost dig itself into the ground slowly. That doesn't last long though, because he opens it right back up again and keeps his fingers dancing across the fretboard until the song ends.

Until I picked up this album I had always thought Flying High Again was post Randy. That was corrected by the time I was fourteen, and too much damage could be done. My dad was a Sabbath fan, not so much an Ozzy fan, so I didn't learn much about the solo stuff until I ventured into music on my own. However, the reason I didn't know this was a Randy song at first was due to this tune being pretty basic for him.

I'm not a fan of Revelation (Mother Earth). I'm not sure why, and I don't have a good explanation as to why. However, the classical guitar work that Randy pulls out here takes me to places that only Chris De Burgh has ever been able to transport me to. Those small little village cafes in Europe, where the world of music is just different, and magical. To me the best part of this song is the last minute or so, when Randy starts letting his fingers run on the guitar.

Steal Away (The Night) (With Drum Solo) is fast furious and exciting. Rhoads works the guitar as perfectly as he does on the studio version, but there's more of an energy and vibe to this live track. On Blizzard Of Oz I normally skip this track, because it's not a favourite of mine, however on this live disc it's another story. I enjoy this version so much better, although the drum solo isn't anything spectacular, and I find it surprising that it was included in an album that's a tribute to a fallen guitarist. Personally I would have left the solo off, and included a version of Over The Mountain if possible.

After that it's on to Ozzy's most contreversial song, Suicide Solution. I'm a fan, but I like the studio version better, except for the wicked Guitar Solo towards the end of the song. This time when I say solo, I mean a classic he's out there by himself solo. This is some classic guitar wanking and yanking. However, I prefer his normal solos, they have more feeling to them. This one is just flashy showboat stuff.

Next it's on to a short version of Iron Man. I hate the fact that the song ends before it gets to the good parts. However, instead it quickly moves into a high speed version of Children Of The Grave. This is my favourite Black Sabbath song, and it's the only song I ever took the time to learn on guitar (minus solo). This is a great version, and I love Randy's take on it, but it's not the song that I love. Then it's on to Paranoid, and it sounds like it always does. Sure it has Rhoads' flair and pizzaz, but it's still just Paranoid.

After that it's on to two more songs I was never a fan of, Goodbye To Romance and No Bone Movies. I do prefer the latter one, out of the two, but for the most part they are both pretty stock.

The album ends with the studio out takes for Randy's classical piece Dee. As a fan, this is great, and the perfect way to end the album. As a casual listener, it's still enjoyable, but it's nothing to write about.

Over all I really like this album, but I wish there would have been more from Diary Of A Madman. I'm not sure if I would suggest this album to your basic listener, but I would suggest it to anyone that's a fan of Ozzy Osbourne and loves great guitar work.

8/10 - content 7/10 - production 7/10 - personal bias

Monday, September 17, 2012

Van Halen - Van Halen

The very first Van Halen CD I bought was their self titled debut. I don't remember when I bought it, or where. I do remember I owned the Diver Down cassette prior to that though.

Van Halen was one of those bands I discovered on my own. My Dad didn't listen to them, and I only knew the songs that had music videos. Which means that when I bought this CD the only song I really knew was You Really Got Me. What I didn't know is that I was holding one hell of a fantastic album in my hands.

The album opens with a blaring car horn that turns into something dying. From that a simple, steady bass line starts punching it up and the guitar explodes. This is Running With The Devil, and it is my favourite Van Halen song. The background vocals are fantastic, and David Lee Roth's lead vocals are the showmanship of legend. This song is the only reason I'm willing to acknowledge Van Halen as anything more than a joke. Well, that's not fair, but I really have little to no respect for three of the four members of the band on this CD. I'm so glad Michael Anthony decided to go with his friend, and leave the egos behind.

Speaking of egos. Eruption is the second track on this album. I'll resort to a previous review I wrote for this song. "It was fantastic for it's time. It was different, exciting, and full of the balls that guitarists in 1978 were missing. It's also overated, over played, and over shadows much better pieces from much better artists. The key to this specific solo is that it's not long and boring. Eddie clearly understands his instrument, and how to make it do marvelous things and this solo deserves at least that recognition."

I love the song You Really got Me. It doesn't matter if it's The Kinks or Van Halen, thay both are the same to me, in there respective ways. This is just a wicked fun song and it has a bitching riff that can't be ignored.

Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love is not only a statement on the American mentality of contracting everything, but it's also a brilliant delivery of musical skill and talent. The arrangements are well designed and the punctuation of timing is stylish. I'm The One is major league guitar wanking. This is Eddie doing his "look at me" routine of flying around the fret board and dropping some major whammy bombs. However, the boogie woogie being laid down by Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen helps set off the guitar in a way that it is totally enjoyable. I even like the little Scat part in the middle. I will say that Diamond Dave did at least bring that type of interesting showmanship to the band.

Jamie's Cryin' is probably my second favourite Van Halen song. "She saw the look in his eyes / N' she knew better / He wanted her tonight / And it was now or never / He made her feel so sad / Oh, whoa, whoa, Jamie's cryin' / Oh, whoa, whoa, Jamie's cryin' Now Jamie wouldn't say all right / She knew he'd forget her / N' so they said ah-good night / Oh, and now he's gone forever / She wants to send him a letter, uh yeah yeah / Uh, just to try to make herself feel better / It said "Gimme (Gimme a call sometime)" / But she knows what that'll get her / Oh, whoa, whoa, Jamie's cryin' / Oh, whoa, whoa, Jamie's cryin'". I am constantly singing along with this song. It's so honest and pure, and is from a girl's point of view that's respectable. Also it's just a good solid song musically.

Atomic Punk is well written and performed. I enjoy the song when it comes on, and even will throw it on my Mp3 player from time to time. I don't think it's anything special, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be considered that way by someone else.

Now if Jamie's Cryin' is sweet, and shows that the band might have some emotional depth, Feel Your Love Tonight goes to the other end of the extreme. Once again this is a musically solid song, that's totally enjoyable. Lyically it has all the depth of a Kiss song.

The best part about this album is that there are no songs you are really going to feel a need to skip. It's just a really good Rock album. The solos and lead guitar lines are flashy and a bit Metalish, but everything else screams Rock.

I like the funk that comes with Little Dreamer. Lyrically the content appeals to me on a personal level. "And then they went and they voted you / Least likely to succeed / I had to tell them baby you were armed with all you'd need / Seems no one's talking 'bout those crazy days gone past / Weren't they amazed when you were really last? / (Oooh-oooh) You are the little dreamer / (Oooh-oooh) You were, the little dreamer. Yeah-yeah!" This is the hidden gem track on the album that gets me off in special ways, like a good funky groove should do.

I'm not sure why Van Halen felt a need to cover Ice Cream Man, but it works. This song was clearly one of Dave's choices since he did it a second time during his solo career as well. If any song on this album can be skipped it's this one. It's doesn't add anything to the album, but thankfully doesn't take anything away either.

The album finishes with On Fire. I have a habit of forgetting that this song is even on this album. I'm not sure how I feel about this song. It's not a bad finish to the album, but it's not very strong either. This is one of those songs I think should have been placed in a middle filler spot, and another stronger song should have been placed here instead.

All in all this is a really good album and I would suggest it to anyone that's interested in Van Halen. It's my favourite album of their entire catalogue, and it's the only reason I'm even willing to contemplate the idea that David was the better vocalist than Sammy Hagar. But only for a minute.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cheech & Chong - Cheech & Chong's Wedding Album

So, I've decided to give myself a challenge. I'm going to write a review for a comedy album, but not just any comedy album. This is the review for one of the best non-stand-up comedy albums I have ever heard, which contains one of the greastest Hard Rock songs I have ever heard.

Cheech & Chong's Wedding Album contains eleven tracks of comedic genius, and not just a bunch of dumb stoner jokes as one might think. While there are also some dick jokes, there aren't any fart jokes. However, I don't want to spoil any jokes or punchlines, so I'm going to try and keep the descriptions down to a minimum. Just try and give you an overview of how things play out.

Also, before I get into the tracks too much I want to talk about Lou Adler, the producer behind this album. This is the same Lou Adler that directed the first movie as well. However, he was a record producer first, working with artists like; Sam Cooke, The Mamas & the Papas, Johnny Rivers, Barry McGuire, Scott McKenzie, The Grass Roots, Spirit, Carole King, and The Weaver Temptations. However, music is a bit easier to produce than music, but only in the sense that it doesn't generally require the special effects and noise effects needed to make a comedy track work. Not to mention that the sound has to be spot on, to make it all actually sound real, and not just like an old radio show.

Just as a little added note. Lou Adler was also the producer for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The first track on the album is called Championship Wrestling. Although this is supposed to be a multi layered audio gag, I think it's more of a humourous art piece. I think that Meatloaf may have stolen this idea when he recorded Paradise By The Dashboard Light.

The Other Tapes follows that. This is basically the audio version of a slapstick piece. Cheech's character is covered in tape, and Chong's character is pulling it off. Let the silliness ensue.

One of the cool things about a Cheech and Chong comedy album is the way they are put together. I've personally owned three in my lifetime. This album (Wedding aAlbum), Big Bamboo and Greatest Hit (that's not a typeo), and all of them have a flow that's perfect. For example Championship Wrestling runs just shy of seven minutes, The Other Tapes follows that, running just over two minutes, and then Testimonial By R. Zimmerman hardly breaks the twenty second barrier. It's this great little filler, with a cheesy punchline that you can't help but laugh at.

Then it's on to Hey Margaret. If you have ever seen Cheech & Chong Still Smokin' you may remember this skit at the end of the movie, when they are doing their "live" show. Basically this is a couple that go to a pornography theater in 1974, and the husband is trying to get the woman interested in watching the movie. Then once she is interested, the man wants to leave in disgust. It's a great shot at the Archie Bunker type of the day.

Track five is one fo the greatest Hard Rock songs ever, Earache, My Eye. The song is listed as featuring Alice Bowie, which was the name of Cheech & Chong's band. The lyrics are about the joys and pleasures of being a transvestite Rock Star. And when you are done laughing your ass off, you notice that the guitar in this song is amazing. The main riff is thick and heavy sounding, and so damn awesome that Metal bands have covered it, the first one I can think of is Korn. However, the part no one ever covers is the part of the comedy routine that the title actually comes from, which is not part of the actual song.

After that it's on to three tracks that all work within each other. Wake Up America, Black Lassie (A Great American Dog), and Wake Up America (Conclusion). The first part is a paraody of Geraldo Rivera, featuring Gerendo Revolver doing an in depth investigation into the music industry. It's funny how this was recorded in 1974 before Geraldo became the joke that he ended up as. The idea is he's supposed to be doing an expose on drugs, sex, and money in the music industry while being completely oblivious about what's going on around him.

Black Lassie (A Great American Dog) is another music piece. This is a major Funk song, about a dog born in the Detroit Ghetto. It comes in as a song the reporter is supposed to be listening to. This song has a flute, and one hell of a wah solo. It get's so in depth that the vocalist has to reprimand him during the performance. I actually listen to this song and Earache My Eye as normal songs. They are funny, but they are so amazingly well written and performed.

The conclusion to Wake Up America is just that. It's a short track of pleasantries and ass kissing, that brings everything to a nice ending, by pointing out that the music industry is screwed because society is.

There are two characters that are continuing characters thoughout the multiple albums and even the first Cheech & Chong movie. Pedro and Man, are the actual names of Cheech (Pedro) & Chong (Man) in the first movie. Those two characters are also here on the track The Baby Sitters. Which features a contest to see who can hold their breath the longest and Man ignoring everything while he's got his headphones on.

This flows right into the Three Little Pigs, which is a story Pedro is telling to the kids. But, it's not the little pigs we know. This is the story of three really messy kids that don't clean up after themselves, so the parents abandoned them. Then the three little pigs are forced to deal with the landlord.

The only track on this album that actually contains any real drug jokes is Coming Attractions which finishes off the album. I think the only reason it's called Coming Attractions is due to the fact that they never would have gotten away with a track called Mr. Dope America. At least not in 1974.

This album made me roar with laughter the first time I heard it, and it's taken everything I have to review it seriously. This is a comedy album that you need to own, and I don't know any other way to say it.

8/10 - content

10/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dio - Holy Diver

There are three great voices in Heavy Metal, Bruce Dickinson, Rab Halford and Ronnie James Dio. I'm a huge fan of the first one, I respect and enjoy the second one, and the last one is the original Heavy Metal Vocalist God.

The Holy Diver album is one of those albums that is beyond classic. Ronnie James Dio ventured through Black Sabbath and Rainbow, as well as Elf if you really want to go back, to come out swinging solo with a record that is almost considered Gospel. Stand up and shout starts off the album with blinding speed and furious riffing. It's a great song, and it will pump you up. There was no better way to start this album off. If you've never heard the song, please go educate yourself.

The title track follows that up. It's ominously slow, and really creepy. It slithers into your mind, and lays eggs of imagination. "Holy Diver / You've been down too long in the midnight sea / Oh what's becoming of me / Ride the tiger / You can see his stripes but you know he's clean / Oh don't you see what I mean / Gotta get away / Holy Diver / Shiny diamonds / Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue / Something is coming for you / Race for the morning / You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light / Oh we will pray it's all right / Gotta get away-get away / Between the velvet lies / There's a truth that's hard as steel / The vision never dies / Life's a never ending wheel".

I have to say that Gypsy is probably my favourite song on this album. I love the guitar work, and Dio's voice is so sexy sounding. Some people may consider this a bit stock sounding, because it has a tone and vibe that could easily be mistaken for Heaven & Hell or Rainbow, in a very good way. Also I love when Dio let's loose with, "So I'm ridin' / Yes I'm ridin' / I'm still ridin' on the gypsy / On the gypsy queen".

Caught In The Middle is a good solid rock song, but the part that stands out the most to me is that this song was written by Dio, Vivian Campbell and drummer Vinny Appice. With the exception of Lars Ulrich and Neil Peart you don't find drummers getting writing credits too often.

I know there are many people out there that love Don't Talk To Strangers, and while I acknowledge this is a fantastic song, it's not one of the songs that gets me off. On the original vinyl release, this song finished off the first side of the album. That was a genius idea, because this is a great closer, and would have me running to flip the record, so I could engorge myself on more musical ecstasy.

The second side of the album opens with Straight Through The Heart. This is a big heavy riffing song. I have to say that Vivian Campbell wasted his talents going to Def Leppard. I mean he's done some good music with them, but he was so much better with Dio. Although I'm not a fan of his solo on this song, I find it a bit grating and sloppy.

Invisible is one of those songs that starts all swimmy and ripply sounding, almost Styx sounding. Then it's on to the heavy riffing and Dio howling. This is one of those songs that sounds like three different bands rolled into one. There's the Styx like artsy sound, and performance aspects, a very clear Rainbow/Deep Purple heaviness, and soloing that could easily be taken for Kane Roberts era Alice Cooper. The last example actually came out after this album, but that's not the point.

I don't know if Holy Diver or Rainbow In The Dark is the most popular song on this album. However, Rainbow In The Dark would be my choice. "When there's lightning - it always bring me down / Cause it's free and I see that it's me / Who's lost and never found / I cry for magic - I feel it dancing in the light / But it was cold - I lost my hold / To the shadows of the night / There's no sign of the morning coming / You've been left on your own / Like a Rainbow in the Dark". You can also tell by the music that everyone in the band wrote this song, including bassist/keyboardist Jimmy Bain. It made this song so strong, solid and powerful, everywhere. It wasn't just Campbell doing a wicked solo and Dio giving good voice, it's also a great keyboard riff, and an awesome rhythm section.

Shame On The Night is a perfect album closer. It's such a sexy, dark, creeper of a song. This is Dio's Night Prowler (AC/DC). The groove, and simple musicianship explodes in waves of audio ecstasy. I mean this song really gets into you, and then takes you into the night. "For places Ive been, and what I've seen / For giving me the strangest dreams / You never never never know just what they mean / And ooooohh... Shame on the night / You dont care what youve done / Here I go, Ive got to run....... / Shame on the night / Shame shame on you / Shame on my dreams / Shame on the sun and You / Shame on the night / Well I lost my home on the Magic Flame, but now I know your name / Shame on the night / Shame on you..... / Shame on ALL of you / Shame on the night / ( evil laughing ) / Now im just a worthless Diver... ". What a way to end an album.

Aside from one solo I don't care for and a couple of songs that sound a bit stock, this album is almost perfect. I also feel the need to compliment Dio's production, and when I say that I mean that Ronnie James Dio did an amazing job producing this album.

This album should be in every serious Hard Rock / Heavy Metal fan's collection and if it isn't, shame on you.

10/10 - content

9/10 - production

9/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WWF - Forceable Entry

Let me start by saying that I have, and from time to time, still enjoy watching WWE Sports Entertainment. During the phase when I watched it the most I picked up a few of the CDs that were released. Although all of them were released under the WWF title, not WWE, so I will remember them as such.

Forceable Entry contains nineteen tracks that were the themes for various wrestlers, or the opening credit music. Some of the songs are originals recorded specifically for this collection, others are remixes of well known songs, and all of these are done by some of the biggest groups in Rock or Metal at the time.

The album opens with Drowning Pool's The Game, which was Triple H's Theme, before he got a much better one performed by Motorhead. This is an okay song, but it never really did much for me. In fact it helped me boo Triple H that much more.

A cover of ZZ Top's Legs totally makes sense as a theme for Stacy Kiebler, and the version given by Kid Rock is top notch. It's very faithful to the original, and has a it's own unique flavour and finger print.

I've never really been a fan of Creed, and I'm not even sure why Young Grow Old was included on this disc. Then after a quick interent search I see it was the theme for the 2002 Backlash. Which makes sense, since that's when this album came out. This song is okay, if you are into Creed, but I don't really care all that much about it.

Disturbed is another band that I can go either way on. They were okay, and filled a void in the time in which they came out, but they were always too angry for me. However, that works for theme music for someone like Stone Cold Steve Austin. The song Glass Shatters isn't my cup of tea, but serves the purpose it is intended for.

I have no clue why someone thought it would be a good idea to use Limp Bizkit's Rollin' as The Undertaker's theme. And, I really have no clue what's up with the Dead Man Remix, and how it differs from the original, but wow did I loathe it. Not only do I think this song is shit, but it really upset me I had to hear it every time Taker came out. I want to crank up Austin's theme and then release all that anger on Fred Durst with a steel chair every time I hear this song.

I know it's cliche in one sense, but I think having Our Lady Peace (a Canadian group) perform the theme for Chris Benoit (a Canadian wrestler) was totally cool. The song Whatever is actually a really good track, and although I'm sure that these days there's some major distance with this song and it's relation to Benoit, it shouldn't be overlooked. "There's no holding me back / I'm not driven by fear / I'm just driven by anger / And you're under attack / I'm just climbing up slowly / I'm the one and only / The tease, the way you lie / The stumble in your mind / The fear, the hope inside / They hit here / Hit here / But whatever you need / 'Ever you got / 'Ever you want / I'll take back again / Whatever you need / 'Ever you got / 'Ever you want". It's prefect for a wrestler's introduction.

Edge, had a wicked theme when he came out. He was blessed with Rob Zombie's Never Gonna Stop, sadly it's some completely crappy remix called The Black Cat Crossing Mix, that's on this CD. I can't stand listening to this version. It sounds like someone opted to just strip out the song's substance and leave behind only the catch phrases.

The band Breaking Point had shown early promiss with their debut 2001 album Coming Of Age, which is how they landed the theme for Rob Van Dam, with the song One Of A Kind. Also from their 2001 album. This is honestly a decent track, although depending on personal tastes you may or may not enjoy it.

I couldn't help but laugh my ass off when Marilyn Manson ended up allowing Smackdown (Thursday Night's WWF show at the time) to use The Beautiful People for the show's theme. Sure it was remixed to make TV friendly, but my surprise came more from the fact that for the longest time he didn't want to be associated with that community. He had gone as far as askingThe Headbanger to stop wearing his t-shirts into the ring. Then one day, he has the lead off music for the night. Also this version is not as good as the original.

I couldn't stand the RAW (Monday night show) theme for the longest time. I thought the song Across The Nation was nothing more that quick throw away music from a second rate band, The Union Underground. I still think the same thing, but I enjoy the track a lot more now than I did when I was watching the show.

Sevendust's theme for Chris Jericho, was well done. Break the Walls Down, was a perfectly written and played theme that captured the wrestler's mentality quite well. I actually enjoy the song more now, then I did back then. "Come on, (Jerichooo) / You know I got ya, yeah / One, Break the wall down (Ahhhhhh) / Break down the walls / For those about to rock and what ya want / Baby you know you're judas and I'm your priest / Baby what I got is not from the least / Bring it through the stage in the rage of a beast / Step in the arena and break the wall down / Step in the arena and break the wall down". I know it reads a bit lame and standard, but it does what it's supposed to do, and that's pump you up.

I'm not a fan of Nu Metal, Hip Hop Metal, or anything that resembles that concept. Don't get me wrong, there are some bands that did this idea well, Faith No More, Rage Against The Machine (that pains me to acknowledge), and Korn. However, Saliva was not one of those groups that did it well. They did it like Limp Bizkit, and as far as I'm concerned that is shit. I will say that Turn The Tables, the Dudley Boyz theme does what it needs to do, but it does nothing for me.

My favourite tag team back in the day was the Matt and Jeff Hardy, and the fact that Monster Magnet did their theme was totally cool. The song Live For The Moment, doesn't even sound like it should be a theme. It's not typically catchy, or styled like many of the other songs on here. In fact I had to go looking to see if this was just an album track pinched from a previous album. After a quick look I couldn't find it anywhere, which means this was actually just a really good song that wasaa theme. I mean this is an excellent song, and I love cranking it.

Stereomud's End Of Everything sounds pretty much the same as the Sevendust track. It's a pretty standard sound for Metal in 2002. This was Raven's theme, and I had to go double check who the hell that was, I totally forgot. Now, as run of the mill as this song is, the chorus is a bit catchy and is the only thing that makes the song enjoyable.

Then it's on to the theme from the 2002 King Of The Ring. Neurotica's Ride Of Your Life is a good fast paced number, but it's like all the other songs on this album I call typical.

If I were to use this album as a guide for what was going on in music in 2002, there wasn't too much to get overly excited about. Everything sounds like Pantera, Marilyn Manson and Limp Bizkit where thrown into a blender and the goop was poured into a cookie cutter mold for the general masses.

I'll be honest I've grown fond of Cypress Hill over the years. I originally couldn't stand them, because they were rap, but now I see them for what they really are. They are street poets that love heavy instruments, and understand how to work a sample. I find Just Another Victim a great tune, even if it's like all of their other songs, and it works as a great theme for Tazz.

Why they felt a need to give Mr. McMahon his own theme I will never truly understand. However, going beyond that, we get Dope performing No Chance. This is the perfect theme for Vince. It's brash, arrogant, and totally reeking of bad attitude. The downside is that this is a ring entrance song, and it's meant to loop over and over, and therefore it sounds pretty damn repettitive.

If Matt and Jeff Hardy are my favourite tag team, then it only makes sense that Lita was my favourite wrestler at the time. Her theme music was cool, I love a sitar sound, and it suited her to some degree, however I wasn't a big fan of the vocalist. His voice just didn't seem to fit the sound right. It would be like Raine from Our Lady Piece singing on a Tea Party song. The song Lovefurypassionenergy is decent enough, but not my thing.

Now, if you bought this CD anywhere except for in Canada or at an FYE store the album ends after the Lita theme. If you are cool enough to be a Canadian you were blessed by an awesome song from a home country band. Finger Eleven's Slow Chemical was used as Kane's theme. This is my favourite song on this album. It's everthing that Kane is, big, scary, combustable, and full of a never ending rage. "The wonder of the world is gone I know for sure / All the wonder that I want I found in her / As the hole becomes apart I strike to burn / And no flame returns / Every intuition fails to find it's way / One more table turned around I'm back again / Finding I'm a lost and found when she's not around / When she's not around I feel it coming down / Give me what I could never ask for / Connect me and you could be my chemical NOW / Give me the drug you know I'm after / Connect me and you could be my chemical". It's also my understanding that when the band was asked to contribute a song, the vocalist was the only member of the band that didn't watch wrestling and had now clue who he was writing for, or something along those lines. Either way this was a much better way to end the album, and is still one of my favourite Finger Eleven songs.

If you find yourself looking for a CD that represents what 2002 was like musically, if you liked heavy music, this is worth picking up. If you enjoy wrestling and are a fan of the themes, this is worth picking up. If you are into finding some rare choice tracks, from a few really cool bands, this is still a good album to pick up. If you want an album full of awesome music, this might not be the album for you. There are only six songs on this album I would suggest, Legs, Whatever, Live For The Moment, Ride Of Your Life, Just Another Victim, and Slow Chemical, of those only Slow Chemical and Live For The Moment have ever gotten regular play on my Mp3 player. My son on the other hand has almost worn out this CD of mine, and is a big fan of it.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Billy Talent - III

Billy Talent is the best group to come out of Canada since Rush. At least after listening to their third album I bleieve that. I enjoyed the first two albums, but this is the album where the band really starts to shine. Gone are the days of screaming Punk/Metal angriness. Now comes the cool, collected, well thought out mastery of a band that has been studying and learning. Ian D'Sa (guitar and vocals), Jon Gallant (bass and vocals), Ben Kowalewicz (voice) and Aaron Solowonium (drums) have crafted a collection of eleven songs that are almost all brilliant.

Devil On My Shoulder opens up the album. This has a great riff, and an even better sound. I love how thick and heavy the mix is on this song. This is the rock I love, thick, raw, heavy, and fist pumping. I mean this song angries up the blood a little, but think about what the title is, and then go from there. Also the the solo is perfect. It's not some blistering showboat solo, it flows right with the song, and then there's the bass break down, and the thundering return of the instruments.

By the time Rusted From The Rain reaches the one minute marker I'm banging my head with slow weight. This song gives me hope for the future. Not only is it musically beautiful, but it's lyrically well done. "I stumble through the wreckage, rusted from the rain / There's nothing left to salvage, no one left to blame / Among the broken mirrors, I don't look the same / I'm rusted from the rain, I'm rusted from the rain / Dissect me until my blood runs down into the drain / My bitter heart is pumping oil into my veins / I'm nothing but a tin man, don't feel any pain / I don't feel any pain, I don't feel any pain" I just find myself cranking this song louder and louder everytime I hear it, and howling to the moon that "I'm rusted from the rain".

When it comes to lyrics Billy Talent really delivers. They write stories, poetry, and real thoughts. It's not some cheap Pop crap, that's all "Hey Baby." Instead it's "No one ever thought that she was capable / And the damage done is irreversible / Now she clings to life inside a hospital / Like she's trapped inside a frozen waterfall / Always said her life was never meant to be / Stuck here living someone else's dream / Well beyond your window there is so much more / Even every prison has an open door / Veronica, Saint Veronica / You can't leave this world behind / So be strong enough, to hold on to us / It's just not your time to die". That's not including the music, which in the case of Saint Veronika is a bit basic for this band, but still heavy as fuck.

The best way I can think of to describe Billy Talent III is Danzig meets Metallica, meets The Sex Pistols, meets Canadian musical genius.

Tears Into Wine is the first song on this album that falters in any way, and that just because it sounds like it may have been a left over from the previous album, in musical style. It sounds a bit stock for them, but the lead guitar work is really cool, and I love the tones they opted to use for it.

White Sparrows is a bit laid back and mellow. This track is a little Emo for my liking, but it has a great pick up into the chorus. It's the best part of the songs, when you hit the mid section. Pretty much around the 2 minute marker this song just let's it all out in a rage fitting of Darth Vader learning Padame died.

Sometimes the easiest songs are always the best ones. Pocketful Of Dream, is a very simple song, but I love it. The arrangements are a bit complex, but what's being played is very basic, but great Rock N' Roll basic. It's all about rocking out on this song.

One of my favourite things about Billy Talent III is that it's really a diverse album. Each song clearly sounds like Billy Talent, but they keep changing it up for every song. For example The Dead Can't Testify has major heavy bottom end pumping through, and the lyrical content is scary as shit "So they marched me down to the center of town, / With their pitchforks high in the air. / I was chained and bound with a blindfold around / So the judge wouldn't catch my stare. / And they hung my soul from the gallows pole / But the witch they never found. / So to those who don't fit society's mold, / Learn to swim or you will drown.". However, this song is just musically astounding. There is such an intense beauty to the guitar work that I can't help but love this song.

Okay, so every album has to have that one song that you don't know what to make of it, and on this one it's Diamond On A Landmine. It's a really good song, but I have no clue how to accurately depict this one. It's probably the most Popish song on the album, and has a weird upbeat sound to it considering what the lyrics are."Forever, forever / I'll walk a thousand miles / Just to tell her, to tell her / Our love is still alive / And I'll never, I'll never / I'll never let it die / Well you'd better watch your step / She's a diamond on a landmine".

The bassist in this group knows how to play rhythm, and the producer Brendan O'Brien understands how to use it. The groove on Turn You Back is so damn thick, that it's a big, fat, chubby hard-on for the bassist in me. This song is like Billy Talent's Dirty Deeds, if that song had mostly bass playing the whole way through.

It's easier to list which songs don't get me off, than it is to list the ones that do. Sudden Moments is the second of two. It's an okay song, but it's stock for Billy Talent. It's a filler, before the last track on the album. However, it's still a decent tune.

The album ends with Definition Of Destiny. "So get off my road, no, I won’t be told / Cause I got my own / Definition of destiny / Yeah, take back control and don’t let it go / The future’s unknown / Definition of destiny / Definition of destiny". Simple, yet when mixed with the music, this song becomes a beast. This is how an album is supposed to finish. It's not just some cheap little track. It's a full blown exercise in musical prowess. These guys are whipping it out and beating everything with the instrumental erections.

This is honestly the first CD I have bought that came out in the last decade, by a group that came out in the new millenium, that is hands down amazing. If it weren't for the two kind of weak songs on this album it would be a perfect ten to me. It's everything that great music is supposed to be.

9/10 - content

10/10 - production

10/10 - personal bias